From the department of important efforts likely to yield little reward, the Society of Professional Journalists and 37 other media organizations sent an open letter to President Obama on Tuesday calling on him to stop stifling the media and provide greater transparency.
“You recently expressed concern that frustration in the country is breeding cynicism about democratic government. You need look no further than your own administration for a major source of that frustration – politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies,” the letter states. “We call on you to take a stand to stop the spin and let the sunshine in.”
It continues: “Over the past two decades, public agencies have increasingly prohibited staff from communicating with journalists unless they go through public affairs offices or through political appointees. This trend has been especially pronounced in the federal government. We consider these restrictions a form of censorship — an attempt to control what the public is allowed to see and hear.”
“The stifling of free expression is happening despite your pledge on your first day in office to bring ‘a new era of openness’ to federal government – and the subsequent executive orders and directives which were supposed to bring such openness about.”